I have been beyond lucky these past few months, heading off on adventure after adventure with some awesome brands that I have literally dreamt of collaborating with. This week was no exception to what is becoming a very cool norm as I headed off to the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland for an Adventure with the team at Wattbike and The Sufferfest. I was beside myself with excitement to get out into the mountains and to get stuck into the individual and team time trialling and also the track cycling – time to put these #BigFatQuads in action and stomp some pedals! (Less so about the BMXing after suffering a nasty broken ankle and torn ligament in my younger years from the very same activity.)
As well as being ridiculously cool, this trip was perfectly timed as I had just teamed up with CLIF Bar as part of their ‘Feed Your Adventure’ campaign. When it comes to adventure, the question I have found myself having to answer over and over again is how do you navigate packing for the unknown? A different climate, different activities each day… I could probably take 2 suitcases but, I’m not allowed. So, instead, I’m going to share my top tips on not only being prepared for anything but also for squeezing everything you might possibly need into something that you can still pick up and carry, when not if, you have to.
My first tip is to let go of the alluring idea of having ‘options’. Options are dead to you whilst out on the adventure of your lifetime. You need to plan it down to the outfit, sorry but it’s true. And by the way, that third outfit choice that you think you might need? You definitely won’t. It will just be one more thing to unpack when you get back home, so save yourself the hassle, and the kg’s. Whilst on the subject of space saving, pack some hand wash detergent and you can make your kit stretch even further. I took 4 sets of cycling kit and as we were getting through at least 2 per day, I had a daily washing system going!
Secondly, whilst you don’t need outfit options, you should most definitely plan on taking some food options. I learnt this during my recent Camino adventure, whilst for me, it was a total gastronomic success, for the vegans and vegetarians of the group – things were a little trickier. Take plenty of snacks and bars that won’t spoil and can handle being smushed in the bottom of your backpack for days on end. This applies extra if you’re going to be pushing yourself physically, as I know I will be in Switzerland. The last thing you want when you’re in the midst of adventure – traversing mountains, climbing up rock faces, screaming around a velodrome etc is the dreaded bonk, you should aim to keep yourself adequately fuelled throughout any activity and that means planning ahead and not leaving it till you’re already feeling faint and hangry. I have allotted a whole section in my pack for CLIF Bars and shot bloks that should see me through, that’s if I don’t cave and eat them all within the first few days…
Thirdly – Waterproofs. Take them, in whatever form you have them. The only thing worse than getting wet, is getting wet and then having to sty wet for another 5 hours or so. Go on, be practical and pack that waterproof jacket, your Mum will be so proud. I speak from experience here as someone who didn’t take the relevant waterproof gear and then got soaked through when it decided to rain… every. single. day.
Fourthly – First aid kit. Again, super practical/boring but at the very least have some savlon, a few blister plasters and a bandage, you will be so grateful you did. I got the most hellacious blisters right on the sole of my foot when out hiking the Camino and I was beyond grateful for good old compeed. It’s amazing how something so minor can make such a difference to your enjoyment of an activity.
Finally – When packing whatever you do, don’t dig out the biggest suitcase you can find. I use a medium sized Samsonite and ok, have I had to sit on it a few times to get it closed? Sure! Has it ever been over the weight limit? Nope! It’s a perfect size and just like using smaller dinner plates to limit your portion sizes, a more compact case will force you to pack ruthlessly and carry less crap with you when you head off on your adventure!
This post is written in collaboration with CLIF Bar but all thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.